How To Handle A Car Accident in Los Angeles
The impact of a car accident is traumatic -- the jolt, the confusion, and the pain. Although the accident can’t be “taken back,” the laws in California allow you to be made whole through cash payments for pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost work.
What To Do Immediately After The Accident
First, make sure everyone is safe. Pull to the side of the road if you can, put flashers on, and avoid oncoming traffic. Don’t make any statements to other drivers.
When everyone is out of harm’s way, take photographs. Then, exchange insurance information and gather as much information about the other driver as possible -- license plate number, make and model of the vehicle, etc.
Call 911 and request a police report. Although fewer agencies are writing reports for minor accidents, a report should be taken for a serious accident.
Seek medical treatment through your insurance if available. Even though you may not immediately feel pain, it is important to document the accident through a medical provider. Further, “soft-tissue” pain from injuries like whiplash may not present for a day or two.
If you do not have health insurance an injury attorney may be able to send you to a doctor that will take your case on a lien basis with no money or insurance required upfront.
Dealing With Insurance
You should call your insurance company and give them your side of the story. Your own insurance company may also have “med pay” so you can get treated immediately without hassle. Your insurance company should also repair or replace your vehicle quickly and without hassle.
Dealing with the other side’s insurance will be a pain. Unrepresented individuals are typically given the “runaround,” and are not taken seriously.
This is where a personal injury lawyer can make or break your case. When a lawyer sends over a “letter of representation,” the insurance company takes notice and immediately responds. The insurance company now knows that the case must be taken seriously. It is now your attorney’s job to get you the compensation you deserve.